I’m calling it now. For many, Screamride will be the sleeper hit of the year. Created by the team behind Roller Coaster Tycoon it’s unsurprisingly based around rollercoasters but you are not making sure your park is selling overpriced hot dogs or hiring men to dress up as oversized mice in a bid to lure mum and dads offspring into the nearest merchandise shop. Oh no, this time we get that well known genre – the rollercoaster construction puzzler.
Well to be exact, puzzlers. There are three main game types, contained within the career mode, all of them different from the last but also somewhat similar.
The main game mode is Screamrider, obviously. This is a straightforward-ish affair where you get to test and ride around in pre-built roller coasters. Rather than just watching the action, because that would be the most boring game in the world, you actually control the speed of the rollercoaster car as it makes it way around the track. Your objective here is to make the ride as exciting as possible, however you can’t just go hell for leather and make it as fast as possible as you have to ensure that you don’t send the car flying off the track, injure any of the riders or make any of them sick – I’m sure the first two are linked somehow. You could say it’s the first on rails racer – in more ways than one.
Screamrider is a super amount of fun with an instant restart for rides that are not going too well, ala Trials, creating a just one more try affair as you attempt to outdo your previously attained score. The fact that this is also the third best mode out of the three (I refuse to say weakest for something so fun) gives you an indication of what else is to come.
The second mode is puzzling 101. Simply called Engineering, you start with a partially built track which you not only have to complete but also have to achieve certain pre-defined goals like using a certain pieces of track or only using a certain amount of additional track. Once you are complete you can send the car round the track with the results using the same excitement versus crash/injury/spew to ascertain if you are successful (move onto next round) or a dismal failure (back to the drawing board to have another go).
Engineering really is a great puzzle game that offers plenty of head scratching moments especially when your riders fly through the air as they take the seemingly tame curve you just built. To be honest I’m surprised not to have seen more screenshots on social media with people asking how to join part A to part B without inducing multi-coloured yawns from the riders.
Screamrides third mode is called demolition and is akin to Burnout Crash where you launch pods containing two riders at various buildings and landscaping features in order to set off a chain reaction that simply destroy as much as possible. You need to work out how to get as much bang for your buck so you hit the levels destruction target. Is it original? Not at all. Is it fun? Hell yeah.
Finally, there is a sandbox mode which allows you to build your own or, if you desire, attempt to replicate that ride from Thorpe Park. You can build anything; Including landscapes that other users can download to use as the backdrop to their own ride. Everything can be shared.
Nothing is perfect though and whilst the game looks clean it isn’t going to challenge The Order for mustache hairs as it favours a more cartoon styled approach – think Powerstar Golf and Lococycle. You then also have the frustration factor that a lot of puzzle games factor in in the mid to high levels – just don’t come to us when you have hurled your controller into your TV because you were 97 points off the 100,000 target needed for unlocking that next level.
Overall, Screamride, for the most part, is an original and entertaining puzzle game. For the remainder of the time it is challenging puzzler sprinkled with good humour. When you add the sandbox, and lots of user generated content you have a game that has lasting appeal which you will continue to come back to for a quick blast inbetween your “big release” purchases
MLG Rating: 8/10 Format: Xbox One Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Screamride by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 1 week on a Xbox One. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.